Every mother knows that moment when “My tummy hurts” turns into mommy covered in barf. My youngest, now three-years-old, has “my tummy hurts” on her nightly litany of stalling techniques.
1. I’m not tired.
2. I want milk! (You have milk) I want different milk!
3. I miss my friends and teachers.
4. I’m scared.
5. (enter pretty much anything, Pringles will make conversation endlessly to keep herself awake)
6. My tummy hurts.
I usually tell her, “I know, honey, your tummy always hurts,” so my guilt was doubled when the vomit tsunami hit. My first thought is always “Intestinal blockage,” followed by “terminal cancer,” but it was either something she ate or a virus. We’re in the waiting period, hypervigilant to every twinge in our own guts. Was that a stomach virus or too many gummy worms.
Why won’t I lay off the gummy worms? No good ever comes of it.
As a result of 2:41 a.m. Round One of Hot Sick (rounds 2, 3, 4, and 5 came about every 20 minutes), I couldn’t attend day one of my Common Core Conference today.
I’m a teacher who enjoys conferences. I have yet to go to a sleep-over one in a hotel (chaperoning Key Club Convention does not count) but hope to someday follow in the footsteps of my friend Tatianna who grades the AP exams every year. I don’t know if people like me are masochists or just “English teachers.” Even if I don’t find the conference helpful or interesting (something that has honestly never happened) I can plan lessons and hang out with people who do what I do for a living.
I thought I’d have more time during summer school, but I had less. Even though it was only one class with fewer than 20 students, five hours a day meant more daily planning than usual. The 12 day semester (that is not a typo) meant no grading procrastination. I had to turn around their assignments immediately. I regularly worked past midnight, woke up at 5:30, and started my class at 7:45 instead of 8:00.
A full third of my students stubbornly clung to the illusion that school started at 8:00. About half of them would not do homework, no matter what it was, how much it was, or how it affected their grade. I don’t believe in homework for my English students as a rule, outside of daily reading. Summer school is a different animal, though. It’s mostly an independent study session guided by a teacher with some review lessons and class participation required. What I cannot understand is parents allowing their kids to do no homework, day after day. These kids come to school with iPhones, nice shoes, manicures on the girls and the latest MP3 player permanently plugged into the ears of the boys.
“Don’t you have any homework?” they ask their children. “No,” the kids reply. Never mind that I post the daily homework assignments on the school website and the parents can easily verify it. How many F grades would I accept as a parent and still believe my daughters when they tell me, “I did it already?”
I had several students who showed up every single day, on time mostly, put in their 60 hours, and have nothing to show for it. I’ve never had a teenager of my own, though, so I guess I should be careful about the judgment. I wasn’t going to breastfeed a two-year-old either, as I recall.
I do think it’s ridiculous when the teacher is the one in the class working the hardest.